Argyll nurse who survived landslide ‘lucky to be alive’
AN ARGYLL woman has said she is ‘lucky to be alive’ after her car was hit by a landslide and left hanging at the edge of an embankment on the A83.
Jane Else, 50, from Lochgilphead, was travelling along the trunk road at the Rest and Be Thankful at around 7.30am on December 30 when more than 200 tonnes of debris washed down the hillside onto the road.
Jane, a mental health nurse, suffered injuries including a broken breast bone during the terrifying accident, while travelling to Glasgow Airport in her Nissan Micra.
She said: ‘Obviously you’re not expecting it. One minute the road was clear, the next all this debris was coming towards me.
‘It looked like kerb stones, huge plinths of concrete, rubble – the metal barriers didn’t stand a chance.
‘It’s only a small car and because of the conditions I was only going around 40 or 45 mph. I tried to swerve to avoid it but there was absolutely no way, it was terrifying.
‘When I saw the car from a different angle it was really quite scary as it was not the barrier stopping the car from sliding down the embankment on the other side, it was a snow pole.
‘If that hadn’t been there I would have slid all the way down the embankment and could have been killed.’
Another car was also involved in the landslide. Remarkably, its driver was also not seriously injured.
Mrs Else continued: ‘It wasn’t that long until other people arrived on the scene. I heard one of the people saying, ‘Oh my God, there’s a woman in that car, get her out’.
‘If you look at the picture of the accident scene, it looks like myself and the other car were involved in a head- on collision, but we were actually travelling in the same direction. I came to a stop and it was probably only seconds, but it felt like forever.
‘I’ve got extensive bruising from the seatbelt and a fractured sternum. But I’m very, very lucky to be alive and to have walked away from the car.’
Mrs Else was taken to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley and released on Hogmanay. She is now recovering at home.
The Rest and Be Thankful area is notorious for landslides, with a similar incident occurring on December 5. Then, 1,000 tonnes of debris were caught by specially- designed protection nets.
Transport Minister Derek Mackay said on December 5: ‘This recent landslide has shown us that our investment has helped to keep the A83 open, as the netting at the Rest and Be Thankful has been successful in preventing approximately 1,000 tonnes of debris reaching the road, ensuring continuity of access to the region.’
However, Mrs Else said: ‘Does someone have to die before something is done at this spot? It’s not safe.’
A spokeswoman for Bear Scotland, which maintains the trunk road, said: ‘Approximately 200 to 300 tonnes of material washed down the hillside, with two cars caught in the wash- out.’
The road was later reopened after debris was removed from the carriageway and the debris protection fences repaired and reinstated by geotechnical teams.
However, the A83 was again closed overnight on Monday following fears a 150 tonne boulder sitting 175m above the road was at risk of moving. The Old Military Road was also closed, with motorists diverted via Dalmally.
The Old Military Road was reopened on Tuesday morning around 9am as a local diversion route for road users of the A83 and the ground conditions supporting the boulder have been continually monitored by geotechnical specialists.
Efforts by BEAR Scotland to make safe the boulder have been ongoing since first light on Tuesday. A helicopter bringing materials to the site was delayed in reaching the area due to bad weather, but the specialist teams have now begun to install the anchors required to remove the boulder safely.
BEAR Scotland said good progress had been made and preparatory works were expected to be completed on Tuesday ready for safety work to take place on Wednesday morning.
The two cars hit by the landslide at the Rest and Be Thankful.
Jane Else, who suffered a fractured sternum as a result of her car being hit by the